I complain a lot* about work preventing me from watching baseball.
* In the real world. I try not to bitch at those of you I only communicate with electronically. But sometimes I gotta.
Sunday, for the first time ever, I was grateful to work for making it impossible for me to watch the Mariners’ play.
It’s no secret that the Mariners can’t win against Houston, at least not since the Astros switched to the American League. Even when Houston sucked, they could count on picking up ten or so wins against hapless Seattle. This season has been no exception: with two games against Houston remaining, the Mariners have an astonishing 1-16 record.
And it all came to a head Sunday night in Texas.
After three innings–three!–the Mariners were down 13-0. (Remember that number. It’s significant.) The Astros added another eight runs before the game was over.
The most frustrating part of the whole affair? Seattle managed exactly one hit and no walks. That’s right. Had it not been for Shed Long’s second major league home run, the Mariners would have been on the losing end of a perfect game.
Sure, if he hadn’t hit it, things might have gone differently. That’s not the point. By the time Long put the Ms on the board, those fans unlucky enough to watch the game had seen ten batters accomplish nothing. And after Long’s hit, the fans watched another seventeen batters do nothing worthwhile.
That’s frustration, concentrated, bottled, and ready for sale. Not that you could find any buyers, but that’s beside the point.
You can’t hope for a rally if nobody gets on base. You need some kind of a tag to attach your dreams to.
A little while back, Jackie talked about doing the math. No amount of math could have helped this one. Sure, the Mariners would only have needed five grand slams to tie the game and force extra innings (where History suggests they would have lost anyway, this being Houston), but you can’t even hope for a grand slam when your batters are whiffing like Little Leaguers.
Yes, the Astros beat Jackie’s Orioles 23-2 earlier this season. But the Os managed six hits in that game. Six! And three walks. That’s nine base runners. An average of one an inning. Enough to build a dream on.
I’m not trying to one-down the Orioles here. Their current record (46-98) leaves plenty of room for depression. And both teams have had some good times this year.
Remember back in April when the Mariners looked like the best team in baseball? And remember those two glorious days in June, the 28th and 29th, when the Orioles set a major league record by beating the Indians 13-0* twice in a row? Wonderful days, those.
* Like I said, thirteen has significance.
But past glories only sustain you so long. Optimism needs a cause.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not having a religious crisis. I’m still watching all the games my work schedule permits. I’ll still be watching the Ms next season.
It’s just…I’d like to be able to say “Just wait until next year!”
Come on, guys. You’ve got seventeen games left–including three against the Orioles. Show me something. Something I can use to pin a little hope on.
Hope that I’ll be watching “Because victories!” not “Because baseball!”